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Amanda Deery announces candidacy for Elyria law director

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ELYRIA — Amanda Deery, the chief of staff to Law Director Scott Serazin, on Tuesday announced her candidacy to run for his position.

Serazin, 66, is retiring. He made his plans known to Elyria City Council on Monday and has thrown his support behind Deery, a fellow Democrat.

“Elyria is a great place to live and grow. We have so much to offer as a community,” Deery said, announcing her candidacy. “I am very excited by the opportunity to serve Elyria as its law director and by what we can accomplish together in moving Elyria forward.”

Deery filed her petitions Tuesday. Honey Howard Rothschild, an attorney with the Law Director’s Office since 1995, also has pulled petitions to run for law director in the May primary. She had not filed them as of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

An Elyria native, Deery has been with the law director’s office since 2012 and served as chief of staff since 2016. She said her role includes managing the daily operations of the office, working with outside legal counsel and managing litigation involving the city in federal and state courts. She also provides legal advice and support to City Council, the city Civil Service Commission and the city’s police and fire departments.

Deery said running for office is something she has been thinking about “for a while,” and the opportunity arose when Serazin retired. Serving as his chief of staff exposed her to budgeting and personnel decisions, she noted.

“Becoming chief of staff really gave me the opportunity to see what it is like, not just doing the lawyerly day-to-day stuff, which is very crucial and can be daunting at times,” Deery said. “But I also wanted to see what the manager-type pieces are of that puzzle, how that would suit me.

“I’m excited, it’s kind of a new frontier for sure,” she added. “Running for office is the ultimate job interview.”

In her announcement, Deery cited among her accomplishments items such as working with the Friendship Animal Protective League to enact the city’s anti-tethering law in 2016, working to change the city charter and Civil Service Commission rules to streamline the process of hiring experienced police officers from other departments through lateral transfer and working with Elyria police on their Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, or CALEA, certification process.

Licensed to practice law in Ohio since 2004, Deery also has eight years experience as a Lorain County assistant prosecutor. She is a graduate of Elyria Schools and Ohio State University and earned her law degree from Boston College, she said.

Deery also is a member of Elyria Rotary, a member of the board of the First Friday Forum of Lorain County and president of the Elyria Democratic Women’s Club. She also is a member of the Lorain County Historical Society, Elyria YWCA, 100 Women Who Care About Lorain County and the Elyria Unit of the NAACP. She and her husband are members of St. Mary Parish in Elyria.

Serazin told City Council on Monday he supported Deery, and also released a statement as part of her campaign announcement.

“As a lifelong resident of Elyria, Amanda knows the challenges the city faces,” he wrote. “I am certain that there is no other attorney in this city who possess the experience, integrity, character and legal ability that Amanda would bring to this office.”

Contact Dave O’Brien at (440) 329-7129 or do’ Follow him at @daveobrienCT on Twitter.

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